There is a wealth of academic research that suggests that differences in risk appetite are at the heart of differences in career and business trajectories. We wanted to go beyond the theory and ask real people from the community about their perspectives and experiences with risk and risk taking.

Alexander Goodman | Composer, Record Producer

Life is all about risk taking. I think risk is an essential foundation for life and for any type of career because we spend our whole life playing it safe on the sidelines, then we will never know the impact we can have on our own life and others from the risk of, say, trying to launch a company. Now, I know plenty of people who are very happy and comfortable with their day to day routine, so that isn’t to say that there aren’t any positives to that, but like myself or anyone else out there who is an entrepreneur or aspiring to be, risk is the name of the game. From pursuing a music career to investing in start up companies and trying to get into California real estate, I’ve seen many different faces of risk, some that I have found success and many that I have found failure. But we can’t look down upon our failures; I’d personally rather try and then not succeed than stay up at night thinking about the “what ifs”. Read more>>

Leanne Tibiatowski Tibiatowski | Speaker & Workshop Facilitator

Courage and bold action have opened the doorway to the most incredible personal and professional opportunities over my lifetime. As a single mother for the majority of my professional life, some of my choices were perceived as high-risk. For example, I let go of a corporate marketing job for a part-time contract position at a holistic health school with a baby… that turned a few heads. It also blossomed into a life-changing experience and was the launchpad for great self-discovery and success. I was following my heart and my passion… and each time I have done that, the outcomes have exceeded my expectations, enriched my base of knowledge, and increased my happiness in significant ways. We’re a culture that loves the adrenalin rush, yet we often get stuck in “the grind” – I know I have. I’m grateful for the times that I’ve bravely chosen to free-fall while leaning into the possibility my heart was pointing me to. Read more>>

VERDE | Lyricist, Producer, Goddess

“The biggest risk a person can take is to do nothing.” This is a quote I’ve lived by throughout my whole life. Some people are very comfortable living a life with fear of the unknown. They work a 9 to 5 that they hate. Living check to check from some corporation that has completely enslaved their time and energy. With many people around me, including friends and family living this sort of life; it has inspired me as a human being to take the path less traveled. I was going onto my second year of college when I decided I could no longer live a lie. I was in the works of studying psychology as my major (because my mom was really pressuring me to study this field) and everyday I felt like I didn’t belong in any of my classes, everyday I felt like I was living a lie and wasting my time. And around the same time is when I was first hanging out with some friends that I had met from high-school. Read more>>

Katie Gebhardt | Owner & Principal Interior Designer at Solstice Interiors

A wise mentor of mine once told me, “when there’s a risk involved that means there’s always something to gain.” That’s really stuck with me in how I view risk – and while I didn’t have these wise words to lean on early in my career when I quit my full-time job with benefits and stability, I knew this deep down. If it weren’t for risk, I wouldn’t be where I am today! In my career, I always try to mitigate risk as much as possible (obviously!) but when it came to branching out and starting my own business, risk was inevitable. I think risk isn’t something we should be scared of – we have to take a leap of faith sometimes in order to gain something or grow, whether it be in your personal life of your career. Risk also comes into play often in design when spinning a new idea or style to a client – it might feel risky to me/ the client, but its those special, different, new ideas that make for the most beautiful space. Read more>>

Kate Nowlan | Entrepreneur and Executive

I am a risk-taker and I get excited when I think about risk. By excited, I mean nervous, anxious, exhilarated, enthusiastic, and motivated. I love change so if a risk is going to bring about change then I am interested in exploring it. Risk has played a very positive role in my life. Some of the greatest joys of my life have come from the biggest risks I have taken. Alternatively, some of the risks I have taken that resulted in “failures”, have taught me the greatest lessons of my life. So, in sum, I LOVE risk. Read more>>

Kira Carrillo Corser | Artist, Author, Instructor

Despite, or maybe because, I was diagnosed with cancer last year, I am taking more risks and helping others see the importance of doing this. It is easier to put off things that take brain power or physical energy. But, at the End of my life, I want to know that I have done my best to make the world, my family, the planet better. I have always taken risks, but when I was young it was for different reasons. I rode the bus 3 days and nights with my 5 year old daughter, one camera and 1 suitcase, from Atlanta to San Diego. I kept a journal. I was unemployed, though not my fault, and a single mom. My 6 year old son stayed with my ex husbands parents in Georgia. This risk because a blessing. I found my passion. I got into Grossmont College journalism program, took photography classes and started winning awards almost immediately. Read more>>

Lady Dang | Songwriter & Hairstylist

I like this question, since taking risks, has played a central, and continuous role in my personal life, and career. In hindsight, I noticed, it’s equal to living a life full of faith. Although, it may look strange to others, risks are very personal to the risk taker’s journey, but yet also connected to those they are destined to sojourn with, waiting for them on the other side of that risk. Taking risks is like leaving the comfort of the things you discovered in the last risk you took, in order to take a risk and discover something you know nothing about. Risks have consequences & spoils. Both are important to our journey to learn, grow, and experience this mysterious story of our lives. Risk keeps you humble, and those who stay enlisted , risk will whisper into your ear for you to consider it again and again. As more wisdom takes hold of me over the years, aligning my moral compass with these risks, have been the most rewarding. Read more>>

Martin Graf | Shark Diver, Dive Instructor

I’ve always been a risk-taker, but that doesn’t mean that I’m taking foolish risks. Growing up in Switzerland I always wanted to explore and see what’s behind the horizon. Since we didn’t have a car, I rode my bike everywhere. When I was about 9 years old, I started racing bikes which led me all the way to a career as a professional cyclist that lasted 18 years. It was a huge risk to forego a corporate career and pursue the life of a professional athlete instead. My thinking was that I only live once and that I can always go back to a 9-5 job. Bike racing is what brought me to the US and when I retired from that, I was looking for a sport that was a bit more laid back and less intense. SCUBA diving fit that bill and I became a dive instructor. While I was working as an Instructor on a San Diego Dive boat, we discovered the Great White Sharks at Guadalupe which led to the operation of cage dives at that location. Read more>>

Gustavo Tonella | Restaurant owner

I take risk as a challenge. When you own a business I see it as waking up every day unemployed and making it a task everyday to get more business by creating more awareness of where my restaurant is and what I sell. Read more>>